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Shongololo Southern Cross: Kruger National Park, Great Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls & More

Duration
12 Days
Prices From:
US$ 7,621

FIRST-CLASS | RAIL: Experience, on a relaxing train journey, 4 different countries, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland while taking in Victoria Falls, enjoying several game drives in 3 different wildlife parks including Kruger, exploring canyons, old mining towns and visiting Pretoria, Johannesburg and Maputo, Mozambique’s capital.


Join your Shongololo Express at Victoria Falls where you will have a walking tour around the Falls. The famous Victoria Falls measure some 1,688 metres (5,538 feet) across, with a drop of 100 metres (328 feet). The Falls are Zimbabwe's most famous attraction. Named by the locals as the 'Smoke that Thunders' or Musi O Tunya, these are the largest and possibly the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.

Travel next to the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s largest wildlife area which contains a variety of animals and bird species but is best known for its prolific lion population. Have a game drive here.

In the evening, depart for Bulawayo. From where, the following morning, you will visit the Matobas National Park. Highlights here include a visit to the burial place of Cecil John Rhodes, who gave Zimbabwe its previous name of Rhodesia. Then visit one of the more accessible bushman caves of which there are many hidden among the hills.

Then continue to Somabhula where the next day, you will head into Antelope Park where, as optional activities, you have canoeing, a game drive, horseback game viewing, elephant-back riding, a bird-watching cruise and a walk with lions.

The train then continues to the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, the largest monument in Africa south of the Pyramids. It is an impressive monument. Here among the ruins of an ancient city built by the Rozwi people, you will discover how these ancient people lived and mined gold and silver. The tour is followed by lunch at the Great Zimbabwe Hotel after which travel through attractive granite hill country to Rutenga.

You will spend a whole day travelling through the Zimbabwean countryside eventually arriving at Klaserie in South Africa. The following morning, have a game drive in the Kapama Game Reserve followed by visit to a Wild Dog and Cheetah Project. Later, continue by train to Kaapmuiden

From here, the next day, depart by road for Swaziland where you will visit the Ngwenya Glass Factory and the capital, Mbabane. The tiny Kingdom of Swaziland is the second smallest country in Africa. Travel to Manzini enjoying amazing views of the Ezulwini Valley and the Komati River en route. This excursion into Swaziland will introduce you to everyday life in Africa's smallest kingdom. The Swazi Market is a bustling hive of activity and displays a wide variety of skilfully crafted woodcarvings, colourful textiles and superb basketwork for which Swazis are renowned.

Continue to Maputo after crossing into Mozambique where you will have a tour of the city. Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, is a city of contrasts and offers an exciting mix of cultures. The architecture is a blend of African, Portuguese and early Colonial with old Catholic churches side-by-side with mosques, fortresses, Victorian mansions and other buildings from a bygone era.

Later, cross into South Africa as the train heads to Malelane from where you will visit world renowned Kruger National Park which offers a wildlife experience second to none with its diversity of wildlife. You will enjoy a full day of game drives here.

Next stop is Nelspruit from where you will have an amazing experience visiting Pilgrim’s Rest where in 1873, gold was discovered in the area around this quaint town, now a living museum and national monument. Also visit the breathtaking Blyde River Canyon, a huge gorge carved into the face of an escarpment. The Three Rondavels, three huge rock spirals rising out of the far wall of the canyon and resembling African huts, present an unforgettable sight. Then it’s on to Bourke's Luck Potholes, strange deep cylindrical cavities formed by river erosion and floodwater. Finally take in the awesome God's Window where you have a panoramic view of a large part of the area.

Then continue to Pretoria, South Africa’s capital where you will have a tour of the city including the parliamentary Union Buildings, and the Voortrekker Monument which commemorates the Great Trek of the 1830s. Next, head south to Johannesburg for a tour of the city including Constitution Hill, Newtown to visit the Museum of Africa and Rosebank, which showcases a mix of first and third world cultures and arts and crafts from all over the African continent. Later, visit Soweto Infused with the history of the struggle against apartheid with one million people.

Soweto was made famous by the laws of Apartheid and is an amazing place to visit. Drive past the only street in Africa that once housed two Nobel Peace Laureates -- Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.

After this, return to Pretoria where your Shongololo train tour comes to an end.


This Shongololo Express Train Journey can be taken in the reverse direction from Pretoria to Victoria Falls with the same inclusions. See full details on itinerary page.

At Goway we are experts at designing personalized itineraries to suit your special interests, tastes and budget. Let us arrange your ultimate travel experience today.
Duration
12 Days
Prices From:
US$ 7,621

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Pretoria

Please check-in a minimum of one hour before departure. Should you wish to visit our museum or do a site tour at Rovos Rail Station, we suggest arriving two hours prior to departure.

10.00am Depart from Rovos Rail Station, Pretoria. Guest may freshen up in their suites before joining fellow travellers in the lounge cars. The train travels on the eastern line towards the harsh eMalahleni coal-mining area and Middelburg, known as the "stainless steel capital of Africa". The Dutch railway building company, NZASM (Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorweg-Maatschappij), built the eastern line between Pretoria and Lourenco Marques (Maputo) from 1893 to 1895.

01.00pm Lunch is served in the dining cars.

04.30pm Tea in the lounge and observation cars.

07.30pm Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Meal Plan Dinner
Duration11 Nights
Accommodation

Shongololo Express

More Info

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  • Shongololo Express



    Just like an ocean cruise, from the moment guests join the train, all their comforts are taken care of from accommodation, meals, recreation and sightseeing and - what a pleasure - there is only the need to unpack and pack once. The trains travel comfortably …

    Just like an ocean cruise, from the moment guests join the train, all their comforts are taken care of from accommodation, meals, recreation and sightseeing and - what a pleasure - there is only the need to unpack and pack once.

    The trains travel comfortably and securely during the night to the next stop on the itinerary and guests awake each morning to a fresh vista on Africa and the anticipation of new and exciting adventures. In this way Shongololo Express guests can make the most of every precious holiday hour.

    The chefs offer menus that represent the many culinary influences of the region include Cape Dutch and Malay recipes as well as authentic African dishes. Meals are complemented by a selection of specially selected South African wines. It is the aim and the pleasure of every staff member on board to provide guests with a friendly and efficient service.

    More Details

Day 2

Panorama Route

07.00am Breakfast is served in the dining cars.

09.00am Full-day tour of historical areas Pilgrim's Rest, Bourke's Luck Potholes and Graskop with lunch. The Graskop viewing lift takes visitors 51m down the face of the gorge into the forest below where wooden walkways and suspension bridges meander along a 600m trail through the indigenous forest with an interactive exhibit (lift for own account).

06.45pm Return to the train in Mbombela (140km). Depart for Malelane.

07.30pm Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Pilgrim's Rest is a living museum and declared a National Monument. Gold was discovered in this area in 1873 attracting 1500 prospectors. Today many of the restored miner's houses serve as shops and restaurants. Bourke's Luck Potholes are strange deep cylindrical cavities formed by river erosion and floodwater. Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve has the most spectacular viewpoints overlooking South Africa's Lowveld, so named because it is much lower than the high escarpment along which the Panorama Route runs.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 3

Kruger National Park

05.00am Breakfast is served in the dining cars.

07.00am Full-day game viewing in the Kruger Park with lunch.

04.30pm Tea in the lounge and observation cars. Depart for Maputo, Mozambique. Border formalities take place.

07.30pm Dinner is served in the dining cars.

The famous Kruger Park has 2-million hectares of an unrivalled diversity of life forms. It is a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and home to an impressive number of species, e.g. 336 species of trees, 49 species of fish, 34 species of amphibians, 114 species of reptiles, 507 species of birds and 147 species of mammals including the Big Five.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 4

Maputo, Mozambique

07.00am Breakfast is served in the dining cars.

09.00am City tour of Maputo, Mozambique, with lunch.

04.00pm Return to the train.

04.30pm Tea in the lounge and observation cars. Travel to Mpaka, eSwatini. Border formalities take place.

07.30pm Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Capital of Mozambique, Maputo is a city of contrasts offering an exciting mix of cultures. Its architecture is a blend of African, Portuguese and early Colonial traditions with old Catholic churches side-by-side with mosques, fortresses, Victorian mansions and other buildings from a bygone era.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 5

Eswatini

07.00am Breakfast is served in the dining cars.

08.30am Disembark at Mpaka. Transfer (+/- 90 min) to Swazi Candles and visit Mantenga Cultural Village with lunch at Mantenga Lodge.

01.45pm Return to the train (+/- 75 min). Depart for Hoedspruit. Border formalities take place.

04.30pm Tea in the lounge and observation cars.

07.30pm Dinner is served in the dining cars.

The tiny Kingdom of eSwatini (Swaziland) covers only 17 000 sq. km. most of which is mountainous. For such a small country, it is surprising that it sustains two capital cities: Mbabane is the administrative capital and Lobamba is the royal and legislative capital. In April 2018, Swaziland changed its name to the Kingdom of eSwatini (meaning "place of the Swazi") and is an absolute monarchy. It is landlocked and borders South Africa and Mozambique. Continue through the Ezulwini Valley to Swazi Candles where guests are invited to interact with the artisans as they make a variety of candles. Woodcarvings, colourful textiles and superb basketwork are also on display. Mantenga Cultural Village, a living museum of old traditions representing a classical Swazi lifestyle during the 1800s. With the traditional artifacts on display, the village illustrates many facets of the ancient Swazi way of life: social, economic and religious. Mantenga Lodge is nestled in the mountains overlooking 'Execution Rock'.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 6

Kapama Reserve & Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

05.00am Continental breakfast is served in the dining cars until 05:30.

05.30am Game drive in Kapama Game Reserve followed by visit to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre.

12.00pm Return to the train for lunch. Depart for Tzaneen and Louis Trichardt.

04.30pm Tea in the lounge and observation cars.

07.30pm Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Situated in South Africa's northernmost province of Limpopo, renowned for its prolific and diverse wildlife, Kapama Private Game Reserve is home to over 40 different mammal species including the Big Five, approximately 350 bird species and a myriad smaller species. The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre is a unique African wildlife facility focusing on conservation and the sustainability of rare, vulnerable and threatened species. Founded on passion, the centre has adopted a holistic approach to its conservation activities such as the educating of surrounding communities, tourism, breeding, rehabilitation and anti-poaching, to name a few.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 7

Limpopo Province

07.00am Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 10:00. Day on board the train travelling to Rutenga in Zimbabwe. Border formalities take place.

01.00pm Lunch is served in the dining cars.

04.30pm Tea in the lounge and observation cars.

07.30pm Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Limpopo Province is located in the far north of South Africa and shares borders with three neighbouring countries: Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. For this reason, the province is also known as the gateway to other African countries and also shares provincial borders with Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Northwest. The Limpopo landscape varies from one area to the other from tropical forests, bush and shrubs to semi-desert areas with small trees and bushes and mountains to flat land. Limpopo is divided into five regions, strategically located according to the cultural inhabitants. Capricorn is the central region predominantly occupied by the Bapedi people. Waterberg is the largest region with a majority of Tswana people. Vhembe in the far north is dominated by Vhavenda and Vatsonga. The Mopani region near the Kruger Park is Vatsonga whereas the Sekhukhuni region is dominated by Bapedi and Ndebele. Limpopo is the only province in South Africa with more than two cultural groups staying together in their original habitat in harmony. Other ethnic groups include English and Afrikaans people.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 8

Great Zimbabwe Monument

06.00am Breakfast is served in the dining cars.

08.00am Transfer to the Great Zimbabwe Monument for a tour with lunch.

05.00pm Rejoin to the train at Oreti Siding. Depart for Gweru.

07.30pm Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Travel through attractive granite hill country to the Great Zimbabwe Monument, a hugely impressive monument situated on the southeastern edge of the central plateau and the largest precolonial monument south of the Egyptian pyramids. A celebrated achievement of the African people and a place where magical fables such as the story of King Solomon's Mines find their origins amongst the ruins of an ancient city built by the Rozwi people. Discover how these ancient people lived and mined gold and silver, which were ultimately taken out of Africa by Arabic and Portuguese traders

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 9

Antelope Park

06.00am Breakfast is served in the dining cars.

08.00am Depart for a full day at Antelope Park with lunch. Optional extras include canoeing, game drives, horseback game viewing, elephant interaction, bird-watching cruises and so on.

04.00pm Return to the train. Depart for Bulawayo.

04.30pm Tea in the lounge and observation cars.

07.30pm Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Set in over 3000 acres of open savannah grassland, Antelope Park is a unique game reserve and a haven of tranquillity welcoming guests and volunteer eco-tourists alike. It is home to the world-famous African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) lion rehabilitation programme, which is a multiphase lion conservation initiative. It is Africa's first genuine programme working to ethically re-introduce the offspring of captive-bred African lions back into the wild.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 10

Matobo National Park

07.00am Breakfast is served in the dining cars.

09.00am Full-day tour of Matobo National Park with lunch. Visit the grave of Cecil John Rhodes as well as bushmen caves with rock art.

04.30pm Tea in the lounge and observation cars. Depart for Kennedy.

07.30pm Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Matobo (or Matopos), meaning 'bald heads', was the name chosen for the area by the Ndebele King, Mzilikazi. He is buried in the Matobo hills just a short distance from the park. It is an apt description of the dramatic hills and granite rocks of this area. The park is also the site of Cecil John Rhodes' grave at the summit of Malindidzimu - 'hill of benevolent spirits'. He referred to this hill as having a view of the world. His grave is carved out of solid granite and surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of boulders. A visit can be made to one of the more accessible bushman caves, of which there are many hidden amongst the hills. Matobo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 11

Hwange National Park

05.00am Breakfast is served in the dining cars.

06.30am Full-day game viewing in Hwange National Park with a packed lunch.

04.00pm Return to the train.

04.30pm Tea in the lounge and observation cars.

07.00pm Depart for Thompson's Junction.

07.30pm Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Situated in the northwest corner of Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park covers 1 462 000 hectares making it the nation's largest wildlife area. It contains a variety of animals and bird species but is well-known for its prolific lion population.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 12

Victoria Falls Tour

07.00am Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 09:30.

10.00am Arrive Victoria Falls Station. Check out of train and walk across to Victoria Falls Hotel (luggage can be stored on the train).

11.00am Meet for a walking tour of the village and the falls with lunch.

04.00pm Meet at the hotel for a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River.

06.30pm Transfer back to Victoria Falls Hotel. Tour ends.

The little station of Victoria Falls was first reached by railway in June 1904. Old colonial buildings, bougainvillea and palm trees against the backdrop of the Victoria Falls Hotel form a charming oasis of soft sweetness after the rugged dryness of the landscape. The Victoria Falls is one of nature's great revelations on a par with the Grand Canyon, Mount Everest and an erupting volcano. It is believed that there have existed no less than seven different Victoria Falls over the past two million years. These cascades correspond to the lower gorges of the Zambezi. The present falls is wearing from Devil's Cataract northwards, eroding the softer material behind the present basalt base of the falls. When eventually all the soft matter has been removed, the Victoria Falls will move back, a fresh gorge will yawn and where the falls are now will become a new site for tourists. Although just over a mile long (1.7km), the falls are broken up by various small islands, including Livingstone Island. At their deepest, the falls are 108m deep at Rainbow Falls.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

2023:
Northbound from Pretoria:
 
Mar 2; Apr 13; Jun 8; Sep 7; Nov 3
Southbound from Victoria Falls:
Nov 16

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 11 nights moderate accommodations aboard Shongololo Express in Gold Cabin*
  • Shared tour of Pretoria and Soweto
  • Shared guided tour of Pilgrims Rest, Bourkes Luck Potholes, and Graskop
  • Shared full day game drive in Kruger National Park
  • Shared city tour of Maputo
  • Shared visits to Swazi Candles and Mantenga Cultural Village
  • Shared morning game drive in Kapama Reserve
  • Shared visit to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre
  • Shared tour of Great Zimbabwe Monument
  • Shared tour of Matopos National Park and bushmen caves
  • Shared visit of Cecil John Rhodes' grave
  • Shared full day game drive in Hwange National Park
  • Shared walking tour of Victoria Falls village and the Falls
  • Shared sunset cruise on the Zambezi River
  • Entrance fees
  • South Africa VAT
  • Tea, coffee, bottled water while on-board Shongololo Express
  • 11 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 11 dinners

* Upgrade to Emerald Cabins available. Please enquire about pricing. 

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Meals & beverages not explicitly listed as included
  • Gratuities
  • Optional excursions
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Visa fees if applicable 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please enquire.

TB SHONGOLPRE23RA: SCN19 GC
3 Nov 2023
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